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TV Series Review

If you've ever said, "I wish our daughter was more like Paris Hilton. How does a parent go about raising one like that?" then MTV's My Super Sweet 16 is the reality show for you. Not only will it introduce you to some of the most spoiled mall princesses in America as they plan exorbitant parties, but you'll also meet the parents who helped to create these monsters.

Audrey, 14, lives in Miami with her overindulgent mother and an unlimited line of credit. What she wants, she gets. Mom takes Valium to cope. And the festivities planned for her 15th birthday will be the event of the century or heads will roll ("It's only my opinion that matters," Audrey crows. "If anything gets in the way of my having a perfect party, I will go crazy-psycho on everybody"). Heads do roll. This classic mean girl insults overweight friends and has a meltdown because her mother has the nerve to present her with a drop-top Lexus before her party rather than at it. Poor baby.

Another Floridian who insists on designer everything is Priscilla. Desperate to top a classmate's bash with a Polynesian Sweet 16 party, this catty adolescent wants a big-name hip-hop artist to perform, and even has her braces taken off for her big night. (They go back on a week later. Cost: $1,000). She even hires a drag queen to host this event, which goes on to score huge applause, leaving her seething rival green with envy.

In yet another celebration of excess, Rachel hand-delivers her birthday invitations to friends in Charlotte, N.C., via horse-drawn carriage (with a herald), then flies to Manhattan to manipulate her wealthy father and drop $3,000 on dresses. She also auditions sexy dancers and sets up a money machine that lets her guests grab for Daddy's green. Her milquetoast father embarrasses her on the big night with (gasp!) a pair of ballet dancers, but after a shiny new car and a wild fireworks display, all is forgiven.

Last season, Real World alum Svetlana turned 21. Pre-party festivities included tarting herself up for a photo shoot, buying a $15,000 diamond necklace and sizing up hot models for a fashion show. Her bacchanalia—complete with alcohol, pole dancers and paparazzi—began in Las Vegas before the principals hopped a jet to Miami. Svetlana tore into her parents when complications arose, but her party was still "magical."

Regardless of the birthday girl (they change weekly), this series showcases skewed priorities and lots of profanities, some bleeped, some not. Viewers also get typical MTV sensuality in the form of immodest fashions and grinding on the dance floor. I took away a deeper, if unintended, message: Money can't buy class and character. Also, these image-obsessed girls put so much pressure on themselves to make others jealous that they're nasty and miserable. Will starry-eyed viewers see that? Not if they're distracted by the show's gaudy fairy-tale endings. So much for wand-waving godmothers and Cinderella's carriage. For these vacuous princesses, it's all about persnickety party planners and $100,000 automobiles.

Episodes Reviewed: March 12, 19, April 2, June 18, 2007


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